The Best Detail Sander in 2021 – Buying Guide and Reviews

A detail sander is a tool you can use if you need to sand hard-to-reach and tight places or sand surfaces with great detail. Their unique ability to reach into corners and other awkward spaces has led to them earning the nicknames “mouse” and “corner” sanders.

Sanding is an integral part of many woodworking projects, and with the right sanding tool, you’ll be able to include a touch of professionalism in the things you make.

There are many sanders to choose from, such as an orbital sander and a belt sander, but neither of these tools can match a detail sander when finishing those challenging to reach places.

The choice of detail sanders is massive, so I thought I’d try and do something to help cut the time it takes to find the right one. I’ve taken a close look at what’s currently available and narrowed down your options to a list of ten. 

However, if you’re keen to start or finish a project, my #1 choice is the BLACK+DECKER Mouse Compact Detail Sander (BDEMS600). Here a quick run down of all my top picks for the best detail sanders in 2021:

Our Top Picks for Best Detail Sanders 2021

I compared and considered a range of different characteristics to help me bring together the following list. Features I looked at included power, speed, size and weight, dust collection systems, ergonomics, and the tool’s warranty. Here’s my shortlist, followed by a buyer’s guide.

Top Pick – BLACK+DECKER Mouse Compact Detail Sander (BDEMS600)

A powerful 1.2 AMP motor allows this detail sander to reach speeds of 14,000 orbits per minute. Such speeds mean it is more than adequate for most woodworking projects. You can also use it to apply a finish on metals, for removing paint and corrosion..

With the tool comes a finger attachment that allows you to sand in places that would previously have been a problem. 

This tool also has a variable speed trigger so that you can change the sander’s speed according to your needs.

Another plus is the micro-filtration dust collection system which helps keep your workspace free from dust and debris. The tool collects the dust particles in a transparent canister so you can readily see when it needs emptying.

If you prefer, you can connect a vacuum cleaner to the dust extraction port so you don’t have to stop to empty the collection canister.

With its three-position grip, you’re able to control the sander well, even though it’s one of the heavier sanders on the market. 

Pros

  • Impressive speed of 14,000 OPM.
  • Three-position grip for added control and comfort.
  • Two-year warranty.
  • Dust collecting system with micro-filtration.

Cons

  • A little heavy and oversized.

This is a reasonably priced sander that helps you achieve a high-quality and smooth finish. Maneuvering it isn’t an issue thanks to the flexible grip, and you can adjust the powerful motor to match the needs of your project. 

For more details or to purchase from Amazon, click on the following link. 

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Top Value Pick – SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301

This detail sander is four tools in one, which is why I’ve awarded it my top value pick. Purchase this tool, and you’ll get three additional attachments. You can use these for fine finishing of larger surfaces, reaching into corners and using on edges, and contour sanding.

Included with your purchase is a pack of 15 sanding paper sheets, which further adds to the value.

To help keep your work surface clean of dust, the tool uses a micro-filtration dust collection system, but you can also attach it to your workshop vacuum via the 1 1/4” dust port. 

A hook and loop system keeps the sandpaper securely attached to the tool’s base, but it also means you can quickly and easily change it.

To help make this tool more comfortable to use, it has a soft rubber grip. A counterweight balance also minimizes hand fatigue.

The only real problem you might have is finding the correctly sized sanding paper replacements as they’re not a universal size. You’ll be limited to using Skil refills.

Pros

  • Additional attachments improve versatility.
  • Micro-filtration dust collection system.
  • Ergonomic to use.

Cons

  • SKIL sandpaper has to be used.

This tool is excellent for detailed sanding work, and the additional adapters increase its range of usefulness. You can use it in tight corners and along edges, and it performs capably. With two ways to collect the dust, you’re able to choose the one that best suits your application. 

To purchase this tool from Amazon or for more pricing details, follow the link below. 

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PORTER-CABLE PCCW201B Cordless Detail Sander

Detail sanders are commonly corded, but this model is one of the best cordless ones currently available. Cordless models tend to be less powerful, but that’s not the case with this model.

It uses a 20W battery and can deliver between 9,000 and 11,000 orbits per minute, depending on the setting. You’re able to adjust the speed to match the application using the variable speed dial. 

Dust removal is very efficient using the detachable dust bag, but you can also hook it up to your vacuum, making it more effective. 

I was a little disappointed that the battery pack and charger have to be purchased separately. Still, if you’ve already got other cordless Porter & Cable tools in your workshop, other 20V Max packs are compatible.

Pros

  • No restrictions on where you can use it.
  • Connects to vacuum for superior dust collection.
  • Powerful, variable speed.

Cons

  • Battery has to be purchased separately.

It might not come with a battery but don’t let that put you off.  It’s still a versatile detail sander. You can adjust the tool’s speed to suit the task, and the 20W battery allows it to reach speeds of 11,000 OPM. 

Click on the link below for pricing information and more details.

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WEN 6301 Palm Detail Sander

This detail sander weighs just two pounds, making it ideal for finishing, smoothing, and other precision work. Its size and angled tip allow you to get into all those tight spaces, and your hand isn’t going to feel tired.

The one amp motor delivers 13,500 orbits per minute. It might be small, but it can pack a punch. 

Another great feature is the dust collector that ensures your workpiece is kept clean, and for quick and easy sandpaper removal, this tool uses a Velcro base pad.

The only disappointment was that there was only one sheet of regular sandpaper with this model. You may have to purchase extra sheets before you can use it. 

Pros

  • Weighs just two pounds
  • Easy sandpaper changing.
  • Angled tip for those challenging to reach places.
  • Dust collecting system.

Cons

  • Only one sandpaper sheet comes with the product.

It may be small in stature, but this detail sander from WEN is powerful and compact enough to use in the most challenging places. It keeps your work area clean thanks to its dust collector and includes a convenient velcro sanding base for easy changing. 

For more information about this product or to check its pricing, use the link below.

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SKIL Corded Detail Sander SR250801

This SKIL detail sander comes with all the usual features you’d expect, including the hook and loop sandpaper sheet change system that allows you to swap sheets quickly and easily. 

It has a micro-filtration dust removal system, which is standard across the range of SKIL sanders, plus the option to connect it to your vacuum if you prefer.

The motor is only 1 AMP, making it very economical. It doesn’t impact the power as it can deliver 12,000 orbits per minute.

What makes this sander stand out from the crowd is the technology that senses the pressure you’re applying to the sander. It lets you know whether you’re using the optimum pressure through a series of LED lights.

However, only three sandpaper sheets were included with the tool, but they are easy enough to buy via Amazon.

Pros

  • Pressure control technology.
  • Dust removal via a removable box or vacuum attachment.
  • Economical motor delivers 12,000 OPM.

Cons

  • Only three sanding sheets.

This detail sander has some very common features, but it’s the technology used to keep you informed of the pressure you’re using that makes it more unusual. The tool communicates via LED lights, and you soon learn how you can vary the pressure you’re using to suit your project.

For more information about this sander or pricing details, check the link below. 

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Meterk Mouse Detail Sander

This sander from Meterk is very versatile. You can use it for a range of sanding applications on metal, wood, painted surfaces, and walls. 

The 1.0 AMP motor delivers 13,500 orbits per minute which is more than adequate for most applications. It also comes with 16 sanding papers rather than the usual 12.

It’s found itself on my list because of the efficient dust collection system. You can connect it directly to a vacuum cleaner using its connecting pipe. Ultimately, this means you’re able to reduce the amount of dust and keep your work area clean. 

Sanders can be uncomfortable to use for long periods, but this model overcomes this problem by incorporating an all-inclusive rubber handle that relieves fatigue and reduces vibration.

One element that could do with some improvement is the length of the power cord. It’s much shorter than many other models on this list, and you’ll need to use an extension cord if you want to improve its range. 

Pros

  • Can be connected to a vacuum for effective dust collection.
  • Ergonomic rubber handle.
  • Lower power consumption from the 1.0 AMP motor.
  • 13,500 OPM.

Cons

  • Short power cord.

The build quality of this powerful little sander is top quality. While it only has a 1.0 AMP motor, the sanding power it delivers is suitable for most projects but at the same time promises low power consumption. 

If you need additional information, follow the link below.

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BLACK+DECKER BDCMS20C Cordless Detail Sander

The tool has a two-position grip that allows you to control it and use it comfortably regardless of the application.

The 20W motor produces 12,000 OPM and allows you to remove excess material quickly and efficiently. Control and ease of use are a given because the tool has a two-position grip.

For sanding in difficult-to-reach places, there is a finger attachment that comes with the tool. Simply interchange it, and you’ll have no issues, however small the space.

A bonus is that the Lithium-Ion batteries and charger come with the tool. 

The only issue you might experience with this tool is fatigue after using it for long periods. At a little over 2.5 pounds, it’s one of the heavier models on the list. 

Pros

  • Powerful motor delivers 12,000 OPM.
  • Batteries and charger included.
  • Additional finger attachment for hard-to-reach places.

Cons

  • Heavy to use.

This cordless detail sander provides sufficient sanding power for most applications, and tight spaces do not faze it. The tool comes ready to use, so you don’t need to worry about the expense of buying batteries or a charger. 

Click on the following link for more info or to buy from Amazon. 

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TECCPO Mouse Detail Sander TAMS22P

Even though this detail sander has a budget-friendly price tag, it’s still got some features you’d expect in a more expensive model. 

They include a 1.1 AMP motor that can deliver 14,000 orbits per minute without the high power consumption of other models with the same OPM. 

More great features include the two-year warranty, efficient dust collection system with a reusable bag, and twelve pieces of sandpaper are included with your purchase. 

The sandpaper pack includes various grits for polishing and grinding wood, metal, leather, plastic, rubber, glass, old furniture, stone, and other materials. The sander paper has a velcro hook and loop design, so you can change it one-handed. 

The only real downside is that the cord is a little on the short side, limiting its use. If you need to work further away from a power outlet, you’ll need to use an extension cord.

Pros

  • Two-year warranty.
  • Budget-friendly price.
  • Efficient dust collection system.
  • Delivers 14,000 OPM.

Cons

  • Short power cord limits use.

This mouse detail sander is lightweight and easy to carry around and use. Its compact size also lends itself well to sanding in out-of-the-way places. You can use this tool straight out of the box as it comes with twelve pieces of sandpaper.

If you’d like to make a purchase from Amazon or require more details, click on the link below.

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Stalwart – 75-50128 Mouse Sander Set

This mouse sander is perfect for a range of sanding applications. Its size allows you to reach into the tightest of spaces and make finishing your projects easy. 

The tool includes a palm grip that makes it easy to use, and the hook and loop method of attachment makes changing the sandpaper a breeze. To get you sanding as soon as you open the box, this product comes with an impressive range of 27 sandpapers of various grit.

The only feature, or lack of it, that lets this sander down is that there is no dust collection system. This isn’t much of a problem for small projects, but you need to keep stopping and removing the dust for larger applications. 

Pros

  • Comfortable palm grip.
  • 27 sandpapers come with the tool.
  • Quick and easy sandpaper changing.

Cons

  • No dust collection system.

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Genesis GPS080 Small Corner Sander

This sander is smaller in size than many of the other sanders in this list. It also weighs just 2.2 pounds. Both these characteristics make it great for finishing hard-to-reach, demanding projects. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for more ample projects. On the contrary, because it delivers 14,000 orbits per minute which guarantees smooth and fast sanding action.

Additional features include a rubber palm grip, two-year warranty, and velcro sanding pad. Its iron shape means you can use it as a regular or a detail sander.

There is no dust removal system, but the on/off switch is sealed to protect it from excess dust. 

You may experience an issue with the sanding pad attachment falling off, but this is easily fixed by gluing it back on.

Pros

  • Small in size and weighs little.
  • Dust-proof construction.
  • Perfectly shaped for awkward sanding tasks.
  • Comfortable to use.

Cons

  • Sandpaper pad attachment comes loose.

Detail sanders are designed for use in tight places, but this model from Genesis is particularly well suited because of its small stature and weight of just over two pounds. The construction is dustproof, so you can use it for prolonged periods without fear of it overheating or clogging up.

For prices and more details, check out the following link.

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What is a Detail Sander Used For?

A detail sander is a type of sanding tool. It uses abrasive paper to smooth various kinds of surfaces. The device is powered by an electric motor that vibrates the tool’s head, moving the sandpaper rapidly across the surface of the material you’re sanding. 

This type of sander has a much smaller head than other varieties. The head is a triangle shape compared to an orbital sander that features a square sanding pad. 

The sanding action in a detail sander is either oscillating or orbital, whereas with an orbital sander the action is just a rotation in small circles. 

You can use it to reach into places that a larger sander would struggle with. Such sites include corners, tight spaces, and along edges. 

The shape of the head prevents any damage to surfaces perpendicular to those you’re working on.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Detail Sander

Before you start your search for the best detail sander, there are some factors you should consider and compare. 

The Power

You can judge a sander’s power by the size of its motor. Most detail sanders have motors that are either one or two amps. Which one you choose depends on the application, as smaller motors tend not to generate sufficient head movement for effective sanding. 

The motor’s size also contributes to the tool’s weight, and a sander that’s heavier will wear your arm out rather quickly and lead to user fatigue.

It’s also worth remembering that a higher amperage will slightly increase the tool’s power consumption. 

Orbit Speed

The orbital speed of the tool is measured in OPMs, or orbits per minute. The higher a tool’s OPM, the more powerful it will be. Higher rotations per minute allow you to work on harder materials. 

Variable speed control is a valuable feature as it lets you decrease or increase the sander’s speed, depending on the type of material you’re sanding.

Dust Collection

When you’re sanding, it can produce a severe amount of dust, which can be harmful to your health. If a sander has a dust collection system, it helps you manage the dust and keep your workpiece clean.

There tends to be a selection of options. One is an integrated system that includes a micro-filter alongside the collection system. Alternatively, some tools have an external extraction system that you attach to a vacuum cleaner.

Both options have their pros and cons. If you attach the tool to a vacuum cleaner, it can be inconvenient as the vacuum hose gets in the way. However, it does prevent dust from clogging up your work environment.

A dust collection system that’s integral to the tool will need to be emptied, which can slow down the progress of your work.

Size and Weight

Size and weight can be an issue, especially if the tool is cumbersome and heavy to use. It’s a good idea to look for a tool that will be suitable for the way you prefer to work.

Using a handheld power tool can be difficult if you’re sanding for long periods. A heavier sander will require less force to use and allow you to finish your work quicker, both of which will be less strain on your arms, wrists, and hands. 

On the other hand, if you’re going to be sanding a lot, a lighter model might be better to use in smaller areas.

Comfort and Ergonomics

Any power tool you use must be comfortable. If you’re going to use your detail sander for more extended periods, an ergonomic handle is crucial. A device that is low-vibration can be another important feature. 

Watch this video to learn more about hand-arm vibration.

You should also consider how much noise the tool makes. Tools that you use for sanding can damage your hearing when you use them for extended periods.

The tool’s balance is a consideration as it allows you to keep a better grip and control the sander more effectively. Ultimately, being able to control the sander is much safer.

Weight is also a factor in how comfortable the tool is to use and its maneuverability.

Warranty

When investing in power tools, the warranty is often overlooked, but it’s essential for your peace of mind. You don’t want to spend your money on repairs not long after you’ve bought the tool.

If you’re considering several brands with similar specs, the warranty could be the feature that helps you decide. Look for a detail sander with the longest warranty period. One year is average, but two or more would be best.

Conclusion

Which detail sander to choose very much depends on your plans for using it. If you purchase the correct one, it means you’ll work correctly, efficiently, and safely.

It’s safe to say that whatever detail sander you use will perform much the same basic function. When choosing, you need to consider the subtle differences that make using the tool more pleasurable and convenient. 

All the models and brands on my list are worthy of recommendation, but if you want me to pick out one in particular, I’d have to choose the BLACK+DECKER Mouse Compact Detail Sander (BDEMS600).

It’s compact but still packs a powerful punch, has an effective dust collection system, is comfortable to use thanks to the three-position grip control, and fits into the smallest of spaces thanks to the finger attachment and low profile legs.

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade but my passions are woodworking, tools and DIY.

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